Your Name: Stuart (Stu) Wilkie
Occupation: Sports Massage Therapist
Home Town: Bristol
Twitter Account: @26pointStu
What is your running background?
I started running in 2004 completing my first Marathon in London in the same year in 5 hours 23 minutes, having been injured in the lead up to the race I knew I could have done better so I joined a running club and trained properly finishing the Cardiff Marathon in October of 2014 in 3 hours 38 minutes. I loved the competitive nature of road running so decided to stick with it.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
My first ultra was the London Ultra 50km in 2011 after a friend suggested it would be a good idea as a few other friends he knew were also doing it. I came 17th and beat a Mr Robbie Britton by just under 2 minutes!
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
I love parkrun on a Saturday morning and being from South Gloucestershire you are most likely to see me at my home event in Chipping Sodbury. For the last 5 years I have ran the Dartmoor Discovery Marathon (32 miles) which is held early June. I will always enter the GUCR and or LLC 130 from now on.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Winning the last ever Caesars Camp 100 mile in 2013 and the 2014 Green Man Ultra (45 miles) in Bristol is one of my biggest achievements. I guess coming 5th and running 130 miles at the Energia 24 hour track event in Belfast last year (which was my debut) is worth a mention too.
What was your hardest race experience?
The CCC in 2014, I wasn’t really quite prepared for how hard the mountains would be!
What events do you have planned for 2016 up to Spartathlon?
I am returning to the GUCR this year to not only better my time from last 2014 but to prepare myself for Sparta. I may do the LLC130 again, along with this I will have a week of back to marathons where I will personally run a marathon a day during the summer along a local cycle path to get used to running on tired legs and in the heat.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
During the track event and the LLC130 I used a run/walk strategy where I ran for 25 minutes and then walked for 5 minutes. All of the time though I am thinking just run your own race, take it steady and don’t worry about anyone else.
What does a typical training week look like? 1-2 track sessions a week, 1-2 long runs, hills, tempo runs, parkrun, yoga, and cycling to work and back.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Get used to eating and drinking on the move.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I once auditioned to be a contestant on bargain hunt.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Meeting the other runners in the team and listening to their advice and stories. The highlight will be running down the home straight and reaching the finish line to kiss the foot of King Leonidas.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Hopefully it won’t happen but if it did, I wouldn’t like the idea of knowing that I might fail to meet the cut offs
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
I will read as much as possible about the race, blogs, websites, studying maps etc and of course get out there and train lots on the roads in the heat. I will ask advice from people who have been there and done it, and use their experience and knowledge to better my chances of becoming a Spartathlete in 2016.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
I haven’t thought about what I want yet but I am sure I can persuade a few members of family and/or friends into a volunteering holiday in the sun.